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Archive for the category “servant leadership”

Discover the toughest thing for entrepreneurs to let go of


Discover the toughest thing for entrepreneurs to let go of 

Photo credit: Pablo by Buffer

It comes down to adapting to change and letting go of what you knew worked best when you started up your company. I have observed in many a friendly business and even I have been resistant from time to time abandoning a success recipe. After all, that is what got you this far. Challenge is that a business has stages very similar to human life. When maturity hits and we need to hire more people and build up a lot of infrastructure it is tough letting go of the figment our imagination that we call control. We should be hiring people that are much smarter and better equipped than us. We should be delegating and letting middle management take over control over most if not all important parts of our businesses. The one thing that keeps us from moving on is fear.

Fear is one of the most powerful emotions we have. Take for instance the fear of loss. No one wants to lose anything that we have an emotional attachment to. That applies to things, relationships, feelings, etc. Very often we may not even necessarily know if what we are attached to is good for us. What if letting go is the best thing that could happen to us? In this particular case we are afraid to lose our business if we changed the tried and true original business model. Don’t take my word for it. Here is a link to a fabulous book by friend Craig Hughes “The Self-Driving Company: How Getting Out of the Way Enabled My Business to Thrive”. This is the book to read when your start up business is stalling, you have employee turn over issues, you find yourself totally exhausted because you feel like you have to do everything, etc.

A good analogy to being held back by your old beliefs and the things that you are intensely focused on is the way how some monkeys are being caught in Africa. Food or other similarly interest sparking materials are being placed in a space the monkey is surely going to notice. That is typical a hole dug into the ground or an existing cavity in rock formations. When the monkey reaches into the hole grabbing the “bait” his hand no longer fits through the opening of the cavity. The catcher now fast approaches the monkey with the intention to scare him. The monkey stays caught because he does not want to lose the precious things he is holding in his hand (Discover this in action). The more he panics, the tighter he holds on to the loot.

Isn’t that a little like our entrepreneurial situation? The tighter we hold on, the more we get stuck and we get caught. So here is my call to action: Whenever you feel you have run out of options and you do not want to lose what you are attached to, please let mentally go of this attachment. Watch how liberating a feeling it is to look AT your situation and not FROM the middle of it. Ponder if letting go of the old isn’t the best thing that you should do.

Ralf

 

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Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas! 

I wish everybody a peaceful Christmas holiday. May it be filled with plenty of time spent with people who mean the most to you.

Ralf

4 items that make SMART goals work


4 items that make SMART goals work 

I am going to get a lot of hate mail from life and business coaches about this one, but to me SMART goals are so old school. SMART stands for the goal to have the following characteristics:

  • Specific: Is the goal stated specifically enough that you will know you have reached it?
  • Measurable: Is the goal able to be evaluated, either qualitatively or quantitatively?
  • Attainable: Can the goal be achieved?
  • Relevant: Does the goal align with the goals of your company of function?
  • Timed-based: What, specifically, is the target date for its completion?

They do have a place in business, although they should be used sparingly. What is the problem with them? SMART goals are stupid because they are almost exclusively result based focused and very rarely if ever people-focused. People are the ones working on the goals though.

So here is my peace offer to everybody who staunchly insists SMART goals are a must. Because SMART goals are like a boat with no sail, kick your game up with adding a SAIL component to your goals. I recently read about this in Tasha Eurich’s book “Bankable Leadership. In short you help include the people side of your goals like this:

  • Stretch: Is the goal challenging enough to make the person raise their game?
  • Ability: Does the person completing the goal have the ability (or reasonably learn to accomplish it?
  • Importance: Does the goal feel personally important to the person blessed with this goal?
  • Learning: Does the goal help grow their skills in a way that they want to grow them?

Now we have a really powerful goal set because you made it personal to the folks having to worry about executing them. The business of business is business. That is unlikely to change, but businesses cannot function without people. It cannot be ignored that people do business with people. Humans have needs, wants, desires, dreams, and their own goals. Kick up your SMART goals with blowing some wind into SAIL goals.

Ralf

10 Questions for the progressive business leader – create a work place that will be attractive to Millennials


10 Questions for the progressive business leader – create a work place that will be attractive to Millennials 

What is a servant leader? This is a leader-manager who understands that he is the one who serves his team and not the other way around. It is great to see and hear that more and more old-fashioned toxic working environments with their command-and-control antics are being thrown to the curb. Our newest part of the workforce is drawn to an employee centric company culture. Attaining Millenial talent is tough. Retaining them is even tougher. It does not need to be that way though.

Servant leadership has a solid foundation in self-awareness of the leader. But how can you pursue it? The best tool in your servant leadership tool box is reflection and meditation. Know thyself is a phrase that you should make your mantra. Please find below a variety of questions we should ask ourselves frequently:

  • What can I do to have my feedback meetings on time? Timely feedback reviews and making them a priority is key to team members feel that they are taken just as serious as an “important” customer, or project.
  • How can I show that I really am listening to my conversation partner? Being present in any one-on-one or team meeting is one of the main commitments we must make to our team members. Body language and mimics and the phone not being on DND can be a major obstacle in creating great rapport.
  • How should I prepare a meeting such that my team members can constructively partake in it? Is my meeting about a conversation for understanding, interpretation, exploration of opportunities, or for action? How does the meeting facilitator make sure the meeting is about the “is” condition and not about the “should-be’s”? How can I make sure we start and stop our meetings on time?
  • How do I as the leader get the respect of my team members? How do I get to know what they do every day and would I be able to do what they do?
  • What is my best method approach to getting buy-in and collaboration from my team members towards minor and major changes in the organization or the team?
  • How do I make sure a yearly feedback meetings, one-on-one meeting and department meetings are held periodically?
  • How do I best provide feedback on how and when to deliver performance feedback to the people I serve as quarterback?
  • How and what do I do to show that I appreciate each individual’s personal contribution to the team’s effort?
  • When an employee says something, what is he/she really saying? What and how (also how much) something is said is often indicative of personal, process, product, or team issues.
  • How can we best facilitate change – any change? How do we guide our employees through resistance, sorrow, exploration of opportunities, and finally the commitment to change? The direct path from A to B for change is a leadership illusion.

 

Here is my request to ponder the questions and finding answers for them that we can implement expediently. Can you see the underlining issues dealing with communication, prioritization, meeting preparation, job shadowing, servant leadership, and perhaps a few more challenges that any leader-manager struggles with? No one is an exception to the rule, and I know that I am frequently challenged and reminded of my own short comings. Key to becoming a great leader-manager is a greater self-awareness. We owe this to the people whom we serve and Millennials demand of us to pay more attention to their needs.

Ralf

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